5 new technologies that could turn our world into ‘Peripheral’

Hit Amazon Prime TV series “The Peripheral,” based on William Gibson’s novel of the same name, depicts a bleak planet Earth in the year 2099, where a much smaller human population relies on artificially intelligent robot servants and on people’s virtual reality headsets. to travel back in time. (There are also invisible cars).

Some of the technologies shown in the series are in embryonic form today – like Amazon’s AI bot Alexa or Meta’s Virtual Reality headsets. But, if you think the show’s Armageddon predictions are just science fiction, think again.

There are many real advances in development right now that could disrupt our world as we know it. Here are five big ones. . .

President Biden scales up a quantum computer at IBM in Poughkeepsie, NY.
President Biden scales up a quantum computer at IBM in Poughkeepsie, NY.
AFP via Getty Images


Experts warn that a new type of computer could “break the Internet” – leaving everything from state secrets to bank accounts at the mercy of criminals.

Quantum computers, currently being developed by Google, IBM and other institutions around the world, could become the most powerful computers in the world, speeding up processes like drug discovery and even possibly some cancers prevent

Rather than using “bits” of ones and zeroes to perform calculations, quantum computers have “qubits” where numbers can be ones, zeroes or both at the same time – unlocking unheard of processing power.

But this power comes with its dangers, warns David Mahdi, CSO consultant and CISO at cybersecurity company Sectigo.

Mahdi said that Quantum computers have so much processing power that the encryption we have today will be unsuitable for immediate use. This means that all the data in the world will no longer be secure – think everything from bank account details to medical records to state secrets.”

All encryption systems rely on something called a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Ordinary computers need about 300 trillion years to break PKI – but a quantum computer would be able to do it in a week, says Mahdi. This would mean that every piece of data on Earth is vulnerable, which could lead to a “Quantum Apocalypse” or Q-Day when encryption on the internet becomes vulnerable to anyone with a quantum computer. Today’s quantum computers are still in their infancy, and the world’s most powerful, IBM’s Osprey, has just 400 qubits. (Millions or even billions of qubits are needed to break bank encryption.)

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Mahdi says organizations can protect themselves by switching to new “quantum-safe” encryption, but companies need to start planning for this now, or be caught in the Q-Lay crisis. Sectigo has said that “Q-Day” could come within 10 or 15 years.

Drones running on artificial intelligence are a battlefield nightmare, the technicians warn.
Drones running on artificial intelligence are a battlefield nightmare, the technicians warn.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


Drones are usually “piloted” remotely by pilots, and the decision to attack or kill is always made by the human. But the cost of highly trained fighter pilots could tempt military leaders to switch to cheaper autonomous weapons.

In fact, it is already happening.

In 2020, Libya’s interim government launched an autonomous Turkish Kargu-2 drone that attacked retreating rebel soldiers in the African country, according to a United Nations report.

The lethal autonomous system was programmed to act of its own accord “without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true ‘fire, forget and find’ capability,” the report said.

“From a warfare perspective, autonomous drones offer an attractive proposition,” said robotics expert Professor Kevin Warwick of the UK. “Low-intelligence, low-tech, low-cost but high-payload autonomous drones are perhaps the most popular drones right now.”

In 2017, technology leaders including Elon Musk wrote to the UN demanding that autonomous weapons be banned in the same way as chemical weapons are today. Musk called them “Pandora’s box” as a “third revolution” in warfare after gunpowder and nuclear weapons.

“Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will allow armed conflict to be fought on an unprecedented scale, and at faster time scales than humans can comprehend,” Musk and his co-authors warned.

But international agreements to limit their use will be difficult, Warwick said.

“We might be looking at a network of AI drones with very different tasks,” he said. “Each drone may be relatively simple/stupid, but when networked together the whole system is an incredibly powerful military machine.”

Atom-level, self-replicating nanobots could spell doom for 90% of humanity in weeks, one physicist fears.
Atom-level, self-replicating nanobots could spell doom for 90% of humanity in weeks, one physicist fears.


Nanotechnology could lead to tiny machines, manipulating atoms and molecules to achieve small miracles, that would revolutionize the way we live.

Hospitals already use magnetic nanoparticles to deliver drugs inside the human body and silver nanoparticles to help fight infection.

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But, as technology advances, some believe it could be used to create weapons of mass destruction. In a study carried out by the University of Oxford in 2008 it was estimated that nappies had a one in 20 chance of wiping out humanity by the end of the 21st century.

As depicted in the novel “Prey” by the prolific science fiction author Michael Crichton, these weapons could take the form of artificially intelligent “swarms” of small man-eating robots like a locust swarm.

In his book “Nanoweapons: A Growing Threat to Humanity,” physicist Louis Del Monte describes the threat of artificially intelligent nanobots that can replicate themselves by looking for the right atoms and adding new clones of themselves. spouse, capable of surveillance and assassination.

“When released, they would have two missions,” he writes, “Kill people and replicate . . . 90% of humanity could succumb to their attacks in a matter of weeks.”

Solar geoengineering to combat climate change risks unexpected temperature impacts.
Solar geoengineering to combat climate change risks unexpected temperature impacts.
ATON CHILE / AFP via Getty Images


In the battle against climate change, ideas don’t come much bigger than “solar geoengineering” or solar radiation management (SRM), where particles are sprayed into the atmosphere to mimic the global cooling effects of massive volcanic eruptions.

The idea is backed by tech billionaire Bill Gates, who funded a major Harvard study into the possibility of jets flying more than 10 miles up to release carbonate dust, which cools the planet.

But scientists warn that solar geoengineering could trigger a “terminating shock” when temperatures quickly dropped again, leading to uncontrolled climate change and unpredictable extreme weather effects.

Earlier this year, 60 scientists signed an open letter published in the journal WIREs Climate Change calling for an international agreement to avoid solar geoengineering technology.

“Governments and the United Nations must take effective political control and curb the development of solar geoengineering technologies before it is too late,” he said.

Want some cheese?  Jeff Bezos-backed Altos is paying millions to develop life-extension technology.
Jeff Bezos has spent millions in life extension technology, mice that are already “regenerating”.
Shutterstock; Getty Images; Getty Images for WIRED25


For years, wealthy investors—from PayPal’s Peter Thiel to Google’s Sergei Brin—have poured money into life-enhancing technology, leading to some exciting recent breakthroughs.

It successfully “rejuvenated” the bodies of mice, reversing the signs of aging in their tissues, and allowing them to live 30% longer.

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Earlier this year, life extension company Altos Labs celebrated the biggest biotech launch in history, backed by a $3 billion investment that reportedly included money from Jeff Bezos. Altos is said to be poaching scientists around the world and paying them $1 million a year.

Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte from the Altos laboratories said that he believes that the human lifespan could be extended up to 50 years, using genetic therapies or chemical drugs.

Anti-aging medicine will be a discovery on par with the discovery of antibiotics, says Dr. Andrew Steele, author of “Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Older.”

“Aging is responsible for more disease and death than anything else on the planet, two-thirds of deaths worldwide. If we could develop medications that could slow down the aging process and maybe even partially reverse it, people would not only live longer, they would be healthier and happier,” said Steele.

But experts also warn that the technology could lead to overpopulation that harms the world’s economy.

By 2030, one in six people worldwide will be 60 or older, according to the World Health Organization, leaving countries struggling with the cost of caring for their elderly population.

Already in Japan, there is a shortage of young people to care for its elderly citizens, so the country has developed “care robots” to care for its aging population.

An aging population also means we need to fundamentally rethink how retirement and pensions work, experts said.

“These are really problems that we need to tackle seriously anyway, such as pension ages having to rise because we are already seeing an unsustainable burden of older people in many countries around the world, ” Steele said.

Technology could also encourage social division. With much of the research funded by Silicon Valley billionaires, experts have warned against a world where the rich lived and the poor died.

This year Elon Musk also said that he was not happy with the technology, saying, “It would cause the asphyxiation of society, because the truth is, most people do not change their minds. They just die. So if they don’t die, we’ll be stuck with old ideas and society won’t progress.”


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